- Ways to Give
By Josh Atherton, Executive Director
Frederick High School Art Teacher Ms. LaSage recently applied for funding for Teacher Innovation Grants from the Education Foundation and wrote about how the project, if funded (Spoiler Alert: Ms. LaSage received FULL funding!), would dramatically impact over 800 students at FHS:
My Students: “I absolutely adore my students! They are enthusiastic about making Art and aren’t afraid to take risks when trying new media and techniques. They have the most interesting ideas and I love seeing them bring these ideas to life in my classroom!“
“My Project”: “During these difficult times brought on by COVID19, students and teachers have had many opportunities to adapt to our changing environment. I imagine many of these changes will impact us as well as our best educational practices for years to come. As a Visual Arts teacher, I am learning to find new ways to set up and operate the way we share and store materials in a safer manner. One challenge I’ve recently encountered is realizing just how much contact students have with materials and projects in the Art room that can be difficult to sanitize without damaging. I am hoping to secure funding for some new mobile storage equipment (specifically, two mobile drying racks costing about $800 each) to ensure that all Art students have a place to safely store their work while minimizing contact between projects and students. These two new drying racks will help us add storage for up to 6 Art classes, which will allow us a complete set of safe storage for every student who chooses to enroll in Art courses!”
Did you know that St. Vrain Valley Schools Education Foundation partners with 501c3 DonorsChoose.org to help complete funding for St. Vrain Teacher Innovation Grant’s teacher projects? This allows us to help fully fund projects with the support of private individuals from around the world and major companies like Google and Samsung along with large foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative! Ms. LeSage recently received FULL funding support from the St. Vrain Valley Schools Education Foundation, family members, and former students, and a match funding from Donors Choose! This is a great example of how we work with key partners to find additional resources for our teachers, and help achieve our goal of Student Success and Teacher Excellence. #StVrainStorm #StVrainFoundation
To see Ms. LaSage’s project and funding comments: https://www.donorschoose.org/project/safe-storage/5362365/?utm_source=dc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=feedback_thankyou_standard&rf=email-system-2021-01-feedback_thankyou_standard-donor&lightbox=ity&pma=true&pmaType=ity&pmaId=6871517&pmaHash=7QWWrt0qiotlu3mArOFtcQ%3D%3D&utm_swu=9168#project-activity
Longmont, CO – August 13, 2020 – The Education Foundation for the St.Vrain Valley has officially changed its name to St.Vrain Valley Schools Education Foundation, which includes a new logo, branding, and website at ww.stvrainfoundation.org. This change helps better align the Education Foundation’s mission of “Student Success. Teacher Excellence” with St. Vrain Valley Schools. Executive Director Josh Atherton said about the name change, “We found that many people in our community had to ask the question of who we supported with their hard-earned dollars due to our old name. I think many people assumed we supported St. Vrain Valley Schools programs, but when a donor or a community member has to clarify, that is a problem.” Atherton stated. “We also found many non St. Vrain Valley students from private schools and other districts were applying for our scholarships or grants, and that really slows down our efficiency. Plus, being that this is our 35th year in service to St. Vrain Valley Schools, our board of directors thought it was time to refresh our brand and get ready for the next 35 years.”
The new logo incorporates the iconic front range mountains along with a book that signifies the plains of St. Vrain Valley and a river flowing through representing the namesakes watershed. “We want this foundation to be inclusive to all of our schools, staff, and students in our 411sq mile area and we thought that having a logo that is representative of the area we live in was important. Having a book that represents the plains and front range makes a connection with public education and the community we serve. Plus, you can’t have a logo without the mountains we see from every part of the district.”
P.O. Box 2598 · Longmont · CO · 80502-2598
ph. 720-652-8208 · www.stvrainfoundation.org
ABOUT THE FOUNDATION – St. Vrain Valley Schools Education Foundation, an independent 501 (c)(3) organization, was founded in 1985 by philanthropist Eleanor Flanders and a group of citizens to find a way to generate community and business support for St. Vrain Valley Schools programs. Today, our mission is to provide resources and educational opportunities, in partnership with St. Vrain Valley Schools and our local communities, to enhance student success and teacher excellence. Since inception, the Foundation has made awards totaling approximately $2 million with Teacher Innovation Grants and awards nearly $100,000 in scholarships each year to graduating St.Vrain Valley Schools seniors. The Education Foundation hosts the annual teacher recognition event “Tribute to Teachers”, the 2m/10k Sunrise Stampede that raises money for special education grants in SVVSD, and Crayons to Calculators which provides school supplies to students in need. For more information, please visit www.stvrainfoundation.org, call 303-652-8208, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These difficult times have changed the way we live and conduct business, both locally and nationally. Our teachers and students in St. Vrain Valley Schools have been tasked with online learning a historic health crisis facing the world. Of course, the needs of our students remain. Our hope is that the Sunrise Stampede is an event that celebrates and supports students with special needs, especially given what is going on with this current COVID-19 health crisis.
The Sunrise Stampede is a family-oriented 10K or 2-mile run/walk that has raised $225,000+ for student programs in the St. Vrain Valley Schools. All net proceeds support Teacher Innovation Grants for students with special needs. These grants are awarded to teachers who have innovative ideas to enhance learning for students.
Since we cannot be together on race day, we are planning for a virtual race. Participants can sign up for their selected distance, 10K or 2-mile, and complete the race on a course of their choice from August 6th to August 8th. Participants will then log their miles via our online tracking system (coming soon!). Compete and help support our St. Vrain Valley Schools students with special needs!
June 3rd: Registration Opens
August 5th at NOON: Registration Closes
August 6th to August 8th: VIRTUAL SUNRISE STAMPEDE
August 8th: Live Broadcast Event
August 9th: Results Announced
FREE for the first 200 St. Vrain Valley Schools’ Students courtesy of Longmont United Hospital Centura Health. After the 200 free student registrations are claimed, students can register for $15. All student registrations include a free race t-shirt.
Adult registration is $30, with the option to purchase a race t-shirt for $10.
Our long-running Crayons to Calculators program, sponsored by Western Disposal, is a heavy lift each summer. Before school starts each August, we provide school supplies to 11,000 students in need across the Boulder Valley School District and St. Vrain Valley School District with the help of hundreds of volunteers logging thousands of hours and dozens of supply drives across the county collecting donated materials on our behalf. This year, being mindful of public health guidelines and with the safety of our student’s top of mind, we are revamping the program while still ensuring that all students receive the supplies they need, but this is going to require a LOT of help from our community.
Our Crayons to Calculators program must adapt significantly because we are simply unable to gather hundreds of volunteers in a school building or to safely assemble and distribute backpacks filled with school supplies recommended for students Pre-K through high school.
While we annually call on the community to donate supplies to be collected for backpack assembly, and while we are the beneficiary of over $250,000 in donated supplies each year, we simply can’t expect this summer to be business as usual.
In the interest of public health, using only community financial contributions, we plan to purchase school supply kits scaled to grade level from a wholesale provider. These kits will take into account the unique needs of each school district as well as a possible need for at-home learning during the 2020-21 school year. Kits will be distributed by BVSD and SVVSD in a safe and socially distant manner. Students and families will still be able to begin the school year ready for success whether they are attending school at home, within the school building, or a combination of both. But, this approach requires far more funding than we’ve raised in the past.
That’s why we are particularly grateful for Western Disposal’s longstanding sponsorship of Crayons to Calculators: For over a decade, this local company, which values and strives to take care of its local communities, has supported our Crayons to Calculators program, knowing that if students start school feeling ready for success, equipped with the tools needed for success, the year begins positively, and achievement and growth can more effectively develop. We count on Western Disposal as a partner, and they continue to strengthen this collaboration.
We also rely on our partners at Impact on Education to coordinate this program within BVSD.
With these two key partners firmly committed, we are turning our attention to bringing on other partners – businesses, individuals, foundations, and others who also recognize the importance of local students being equipped with the tools they need to learn effectively. We realize that, due to economic conditions, we are likely to see more students and families unable to shoulder the cost of purchasing school supplies this year, and we need to prepare accordingly.
Without volunteer opportunities or supply drives this year, there are two ways you can help:
Click here for more information about how to get started in supporting this critical program for our community and join us in our mission to prepare every student to return to learning this fall.
Donate now to support Crayons to Calculators.
Our new Executive Director, Josh Atherton was featured in the Times-Call about his new position with the Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley. To read more, Click Here.
The Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley celebrated the 10th Annual Tribute to Teachers event on May 5, 2017 to recognize this year’s top St. Vrain Valley School District Teachers. Over 500 people were in attendance to recognize the 155 Encore Award nominees. Nominations are submitted by members of the St. Vrain Valley community including students, parents and colleagues.
The St. Vrain Valley School District 2017 Teacher of the Year is Charlie Garcia. He has been teaching at Erie Elementary for 40 years. One nominator writes of Mr. Garcia, “If you say the name ‘Gar’ in Erie, Colorado, most people know whom you are talking about. People will always say, ‘I love Gar! He was my fourth grade teacher,’ or ‘Gar was the best teacher I ever had.’ Few in this town are respected, honored, and loved as much as Charlie Garcia because he has been making an impact on our community for forty years. “
Six outstanding teachers are given Spotlight Awards. The 2017 Spotlight Award recipients are Amy Marcellus, Prairie Ridge Elementary; Spencer Prestwich, Mountain View Elementary; Breanna Jaworski, Rocky Mountain Elementary; Shelly Stephens, Coal Ridge Middle; Mary Calhoun, Career Development Center; Marie Kaufman, Skyline High School.
The Encore Award program was established in 2008 to formally honor and recognize teachers who are extraordinary educators.
The Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley (EFSVV) is pleased to announce that the 2017 Eleanor Venture Travel Grant recipient is Janet Benter. Every year, this grant is awarded to one or two teachers in honor of Eleanor Flanders, the Founder of EFSVV, with the hopes that the significant travel experience will be brought back to St. Vrain Valley Schools. Janet is a 7th and 8th grade Science and Health teacher at Mead Middle School. She will be using the $3,500 grant to travel to Rwanda over the summer where she will forge learning connections from Boulder County to Rwanda.
Janet impressed the Eleanor Venture Travel Grant committee with her original and detailed proposal with a solid plan to bring her experiences back to the St. Vrain Valley School District. Her plan includes making friendships with Rwamanga Secondary School, a sister school to Mead Middle School, and coordinate video correspondence between the two schools. Throughout her journey, she will make comparisons of resources and culture between Boulder County and areas of Rwanda and then weave these connections into SVVSD curriculum. One connection she outlines is that her Mead students will tour Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, CO and Janet will tour the Sowarthe Tea Plantation and Pfunda Tea Estate in Rwanda, which produces a Tukeri Black tea that Celestial Seasonings distributes. Mead students will analyze the different approaches to fertilization, harvesting, transport, and manufacturing of the two tea sites. Janet will also research parallel endangered species; such as the Townsend Big-eared Bat in Colorado and the Ruwezori Horshoe Bat in Rwanda. Other stops on her itinerary include a gorilla trek through Ankagera National Park, the Coproma Beekeeping Operative in Eastern Rwanda, and a visit to see her son who is serving in the Peace Corps as a teacher.
The EFSVV staff surprised Janet with the award during a Mead Middle School staff meeting. On receiving the grant, Janet has this to share: “…So many students high-fived me today (some that I don’t even teach in my classes)! I fielded many questions from kids, which was super fun. I’ve charged my students with doing a bit of research to let me know where I should go on their behalf. It is my privilege to be a part of such a unique cultural exchange. I’m excited to broaden my curriculum by providing my students with the information needed to understand our environmental challenges so that we can identify solutions. I look forward to my journey to Rwanda! The Eleanor Venture is the opportunity of a lifetime!
Kaarina Demers, the 2016 Eleanor Venture Travel Grant Recipient served on the review committee and says the following of Janet’s upcoming journey: “How exciting for our students to have an opportunity to compare and contrast some of Boulder County’s endangered species with those of Rwanda. We are both industrialized nations and how does that contribute to species endangerment, water and air quality. These are 21st century concerns for us.”
The Eleanor Venture Travel Grant selection process is always a difficult one. The Education Foundation receives many unique and deserving applications every year. EFSVV encourages all SVVSD teachers to apply and reapply.
The Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley is saddened to announce the passing of Mrs. Eleanor Flanders, former SVVSD Board of Education Member and local philanthropist who spearheaded the creation of the Education Foundation. Children and public education lost a life-long advocate with the passing of Eleanor. After completing her term on the School Board in the 1980s, she and then Superintendent Keith Blue, met to discuss her concern over the little funding available for teachers’ innovative ideas to enhance their students’ learning experiences. Together, they decided that a private foundation was needed to help teachers put their ideas into practice. In 1985, Eleanor began her leadership of what is now the Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley. Eleanor led the Foundation as its President until 2004. Throughout her life, Eleanor had a passion for travel which she referred to as her “Eleanor Venture.” Upon her retirement from the Foundation, the Board of Directors decided to honor Eleanor by establishing the annual Eleanor Venture travel grant for St. Vrain Valley Teachers. The Foundation was thrilled to honor Eleanor at our 30th Anniversary and share with her how her vision had grown. The Board and staff of EFSVV are grateful to Eleanor for her commitment to public education, her support of the students and educators of the St. Vrain Valley Schools and her well lived life of service to her community. All of us at the Foundation offer our deepest condolences to Eleanor’s family and many life long friends.
See Eleanor’s obituary below, published by in the Longmont Times-Call on Feb. 10, 2017
Eleanor Carlson Flanders, 100, died February 5, 2017, at Covenant Village Retirement Community in Westminster, CO. She was born March 27, 1916, near Spearville, Kansas, the oldest of seven children. Brought home to a tent on the prairie, she grew up on farms in Kansas and eastern Colorado, experienced the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, and World War II, the vivid memories of which she recently published in her memoir The Eleanor Venture. At the University of Colorado, she earned a degree in Journalism. Much courted by the young men because she loved ballroom dancing, she met her husband, Laurence B. Flanders, and taught him to dance. He taught her golf and bridge. She became a Silver Life Master in Bridge in her late 90’s. Eleanor and Laurence married in Boulder on June 6, 1941, and celebrated their 67 th anniversary shortly before Laurence’s death in 2008. Laurence spent their third anniversary off Utah Beach in Normandy aboard the Battleship Nevada during D-Day. Eleanor and their baby daughter, Laurel, traveled to meet “Laurie” in every port the battleship returned to during his service. As the oldest of seven and mother of four, grandmother of ten, great-grandmother to seventeen, and aunt to generations of nieces and nephews, Eleanor thrived in the midst of a big, raucous family and was always quick to welcome other people to that family. She was called “Mom” by many friends of her children, by a host of exchange students, by the children of a Vietnamese family she sponsored, and by the many young men and women she mentored. She remembered the life stories of all these and kept up with them over the years. She never threw away a card or letter. Once chosen as Colorado Mother of the Year, it was this devotion to creating countless diverse relationships that the award honored. She worked tirelessly as a volunteer for organizations in her community, among them, the Sunshine Club, the Historical Society, the Longmont Hospital Auxiliary, the School Board, the P.E.O., and the First Congregational Church. She was a 4-H leader, a den mother for Cub Scouts, an A.F.S. host and officer, a Sunday School teacher, a Trustee for the church and for the National Mothers of the Year Foundation. She started a tutoring program for juvenile offenders. She taught money management courses to many organizations and required her children to take the course when they married! She helped create Old Mill Park in Longmont, helped save Old Columbine Elementary, and was crucial in preserving the Hoverhome as a community gathering place. A favorite project was the creation of The Education Foundation, with its scholarship for teachers called The Eleanor Venture. She is survived by her children, Laurel Umile (Tony), John Flanders (Laurie), Lynette Moyer, and Paul Flanders. Her grandchildren are Barbara Umile, Mark Umile, Carolyn Martens, Sarah Davis, Laura Wilson, Katie Gaddis, Phil Schell, Holly Moyer, Emily Simon, and Rebecca Garrison. A memorial service will be held on Monday, Feb. 13, at 1:30 at Covenant Village Smith Hall, 9153 Yarrow St. Westminster, CO 80021. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Covenant Village Benevolent Fund or the Education Foundation in Longmont and left in care of Ahlberg Funeral Chapel. Visit www.ahlbergfuneralchapel.com to share condolences.
March 14, 2016, 7:48am | St Vrain Valley School District
Design Challenge empowers educators to bring innovation into the classrooms
As the rest of the world infuses innovation into their daily operations to enhance productivity and effectiveness, public education must do the same to ensure that we are preparing students for success in a quickly evolving global economy. In an environment that often revolves around standards, regulations and seasoned methodologies, how you do inspire and empower teachers to take education to the next level? This is exactly what the St. Vrain Valley School’s Design Challenge set out to accomplish on Saturday, March 5.
Sponsored by the Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley, the Design Challenge is new competition designed to ignite innovation, create breakthrough ideas and celebrate the enterprising ecosystem of St. Vrain Valley Schools. In its first year, the challenge provided each school an opportunity to solve an authentic system challenge within their school environment. Fourteen teams from 13 schools “pitched” their idea to solve a problem or transform the educational experience in their school.
“We’ve learned from our STEM schools that design thinking is a powerful methodology for adults and students,” said Diane Lauer, Executive Director of Professional Development. “Our intention is to extend design thinking throughout the district so that this problem-solving protocol is used in all school settings.”
Working with design thinking mentors
The process from idea to pitch went beyond putting an idea into presentation for a panel of judges. Each team worked with a mentor who took them through the design thinking process to approach their ideas through the frames of empathy, creativity and rationality to meet user needs and solve real-world issues.
The theme for this year’s competition revolved around one or more of the six essential components of learning technology: shared leadership, family and community partnerships, device operations and support, learning habits and expectations, tier 1 instruction, student agency and learning mindsets. Participants also attended a day long Design Thinking Institute that not only supported their approach to their challenge pitch, but also gave a stronger foundation in design-thinking concepts that they can implement throughout their daily curriculum.
The winning pitches included:
Skillful Practitioner Category
First Place ($4,000) went to Skyline High School for their program ideas to increase parent engagement through several different channels.
Second Place ($1,000) went to Timberline PK-8 for their prototype of a web-based Homework Club/Reward Program that is better engaging students in their education.
Emerging Learners Category
First Place ($4,000) went to Mead High School for their Virtual Tutoring Lab that is connecting students to support and resources from any location.
Second Place ($1,000) went to Mountain View Elementary School for their ideas to transform the traditional school library into a 21st Century Innovation Media Hub.
The directors of the Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley are very pleased to announce that on October 27th, 2015, 78 classroom grants totaling $48,573 were awarded to individual teachers and educational programs throughout the St. Vrain Valley school district.
The grants support a vast array of innovative academic projects such as:
45 elementary, 32 middle and high school, and 1 district-wide program were awarded grants.
President Eva Gaudio expressed her excitement about the Foundation’s ability to “support teachers across the entire district who are effectively engaging their students through innovative programs focused on increasing academic performance. I am also very pleased that Elevations Credit Union was able to support financial literacy education at 7 district schools by providing funding for more than 700 students to participate in field trips to Young Ameritowne and Junior Achievement Financial Park.”
Longmont Estates Elementary principal Traci Haley stated her school “is undergoing a transformation into a STEM focus school, emphasizing design thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and innovation. The funds from the Education Foundation grants are helping to make it possible for us to implement these changes and continually pursue educational excellence for our students.” The school received support for technology including iPad Minis, Chromebooks, ThinkWrite headsets, and Dash and Dot robots.
The Education Foundation extends a special word of thanks to all of the individuals, organizations and businesses in the community that make these grants possible by supporting the work of the Foundation with monetary contributions.